I know a lot of parents would like their kids to start reading so let’s see how kids love reading! This post is directed to parents, but anyone close to children can use the advice, as long as they spend some time with them.
You Can’t Make Anyone Love Anything
First things first. You can insist on your child doing something, but you can’t make them love it. Let’s make this clear. Pressure doesn’t work on this case. I’m a grown-up and still, sometimes, when my mom insists on me doing something, I have the urge not to. Just because! No reason…
Having said that, you CAN help them start loving reading. I’ll cover school reading first and then reading in general. Ready?
Try different approaches. From the easiest subject to the more difficult, from the one they love to the one they hate and vice versa. Try each method at least three times before deciding it doesn’t work. Each child is different and you have to learn how your kid likes to study.
Something important: Make sure to reward the effort, not just the results. If your child was studying all the week for a test and they failed, that doesn’t mean that all this effort is wasted. Your kid should learn that they should try the hardest, no matter the results.
If you want your children to start reading for school, a good idea would be to help them love reading in general, so the following applies to you, too!
Reading For Pleasure
Before I start, I’d like to congratulate you for thinking about this. A lot of parents leave their children in front of a TV and they don’t try to take care of them properly. I’m glad you’re not one of them! 🙂
Let’s hear first why kids love reading!
So… how can you help a child start to love reading?
1. Get Books On Topics They Like
No one wants to spend their time on something they hate. If your kid likes basketball and you bring books about knitting socks, you’re not going to keep their attention for long. Would yours be kept?
Start bringing books on things they like and you’ll see your child be more interested. Maybe you don’t like the topic but it’s not about you, it’s about them.
2. Teach Them How To Read
My grandmother taught me how to read before the age of 4. The result? I love reading. Take it from my experience. It works.
Read with them seeing the book, read slowly and put the finger under the word you currently read. In the early stages of their life, kids learn incredibly fast. You’ll be amazed by the results but don’t forget; as always, good things take time to happen.
Plus, you’ll spend time with your child and believe me, they love it. Maybe they won’t show it, especially in the beginning, but they do prefer reading a book with you than watching TV alone.
By the way, don’t leave them in front of a TV all day long. Watching TV is something that doesn’t require effort; you just have to be there. Reading requires more effort and your child isn’t probably at an age when they can understand that effort can lead to better results. Reading is better than watching TV and, long-term, you’ll notice the difference.
That’s not saying not letting them watch TV at all. I used to spend a lot of time in front of a TV, too, and I still loved reading. Take the middle road. Moreover, prohibiting something to your kid just makes it more unique and worthy.
3. Read To Them Before Sleeping
Every kid loves spending time with their parents. Read to them and if it’s possible, act a little.
Change your voice for different characters and move your hands. Lower your voice on suspense or raise it when a monster talks…
Even if they can read, you should still read to them as long as they don’t complain about it.
You can choose any children’s book you believe they’d like or even something more mature if they want to.
4. Let Them See You Read
Very important: Take care so that your kid sees you when you read!
We imitate by nature. If your kid sees you all day in front of a computer screen or TV, that’s what they will want to do. Don’t forget you’re their role model. Especially at such a young age.
So, if you want to read, you don’t have to do it in your bedroom before sleeping. Well, you can do it there, too. 😛 But, you can also do it while you are with them. Tell them that you want to read for a while and they shouldn’t disturb you.
Now, this doesn’t mean that they won’t. But, it will reinforce the idea that you read because you want it, not just for them. If they come to you after a while and try to read the book with you, let them.
I would suggest doing this every day, but it’s up to you. Do it, though, at least once a week. After they come to see what you read – and they will eventually, maybe not the first time, but they’ll be curious after a while – change the book you read. Next time you read while you are with them, you may want to have with you a book with stories for children. Maybe something you liked as a child and still remember fondly.
If you’d like, you can read this from the first time. I find it kind of obvious, though and if they’re old enough, they can think like this, too.
For me, the one I liked the most as a child is The Three Investigators. I love the books in this series and I’ve been reading them regularly since I was a kid. If you don’t have a specific book in your mind, try one of this series. If you do, I’d suggest using your idea. You’ll be able to explain why you love it way better.
And tell them that! Tell them that you LOVE it! Tell them that you read it when you were a kid and you still like to read it from time to time. And if they want, read it together. Choose characters and read it out loud.
5. Visit A Library With Them
You have no idea how proud and grown-up I felt when I got my first library card. I could get all the books I wanted!
Now, if your kid doesn’t like books yet, go to the library with them for books you want. Don’t mention anything for them. Don’t show children’s books to them, don’t tell them to have a look around.
Don’t make it obvious that you’re there for them the first two – at least – times. You’re there because YOU want to get books and there wasn’t anyone at home that could stay with them while you went to the library.
Make sure that’s true. At least, when you leave the house, there shouldn’t be any adult around. Don’t underestimate your children. They know more than you think!
Then the fourth or so time you’ll go together, ask them if they want to have a card like you. If they don’t want, don’t pressure.
In any case, though, find together a book with something they like and tell them that it’s for you to read to them before sleeping. If they wanted the library card, get the book with theirs. Let them talk to the librarian to borrow the book.
6. Reenact The Books
Especially if there is more than one kid around, you could use a book even to have an entire theatre performance!
It’s fun, it’s free and it’s wonderful for you to spend time with your child. If you’d like, especially in summer, when they have plenty of time, you can arrange a performance with their friends too. Then, call their parents to watch it!
No matter the result, the kids will LOVE it!!!
7. Use Images To Your Benefit
Try to capture their imagination with books with images. We are visual creatures. We love seeing pictures and our eyes get drawn to them.
So, use this to your advantage!
✔ Get books with images. There are even books you can colour the pictures of the book. Choose one of these when you get a new book for them.
✔ Before you read a book, ask them what they believe that happens in the story based on the images. Let them make their own story. Then read the book together to find out how close they were.
✔ Next time your child wants to paint something, suggest to them to draw something from the last book you read together. Their favourite hero, favourite scene, whatever drew their attention. They will remember the book with fond memories if they connect it to something they like.
8. Use Paperbacks
Your kid is growing up in an electronic age. They’re probably going to have access to a tablet by the age of 7-8. Make sure they know the magic of a paperback before they move on to e-books.
I’d suggest getting them hardbacks if you have the choice. They are more durable and in my opinion, they are better-looking.
By the way, take care of their eyes and their brain early on. Don’t let them use too much of their tablet or mobile phone every day.
9. Give Them A Journal
Writing and reading are so close that always one affects the other. If your child reads, their writing skills will improve. If they start to write stories, they will eventually get interested to read other people’s stories, as well.
Don’t pressure your child, though. If they don’t want to write, they don’t want to write. Making it mandatory doesn’t help anyone. Your child will hate keeping a journal – and that’s awful because keeping a journal will be beneficial for them. You, on the other hand, will get a headache, because they’ll complain. This is a lose-lose situation.
Just get them a journal, explain to them what it is and leave them to do whatever they want with it. If they want to write, fine. If they want to draw paintings, ok. It’s still a way to put thoughts on it. 😉
Make sure to mention to them that you’ll never read what they write in their journal and keep your promise. Your child deserves a little privacy. I won’t even mention that if they catch you reading their journal or figure out somehow that you’ve read it, they won’t trust you again.
Believe me; I’ve been there. When my mom read my journal, I felt so embarrassed and started to say nonsense to cover that I had written about a boy I liked. I was 8 at the time; it wasn’t even serious, but still, I felt terrible.
Here are some suggestions if you haven’t one already. It would be a good idea to ask your kid what they would prefer. You don’t have to explain what it is for before you get it. Just ask their opinion. Or you could get a plain notebook and decorate it the way you want. Or make it a project and decorate it together.
10. Don’t Use Television Or Tablet As A Reward
Last but not least: Don’t use television or tablet as a reward!
As I said before, making something prohibited makes it special. If you tell your child that, if they don’t behave well, they won’t watch TV for a week, they translate this to “TV is a great reward and I will only watch it if I’m good”.
At the same time, they will connect reading to punishment if that’s the only alternative when TV is not available.
That’s not a connection that breaks easily. We tend to remember bad times more than the good ones. So, don’t make this mistake!
Here are some great ways to help your child love reading. Every child is different, so make sure to try more than a couple of them before you give up.
And yes, some children just don’t like reading. It’s not the end of the world. My brother, for example, doesn’t love reading, but still, he was a brilliant boy who grew up to be a brilliant young man.
You don’t have to pressure them, but you can try these ways to help them start reading. And when you try them, we’d love to hear about it. How did they work out for you?
Share with us anything else you’ve tried, either it worked or not!
If you liked this, check more topics about books & reading!
Any suggestion is welcome! So, if you have any topic you’d want me to write about, feel free to tell me below!
Don’t forget to have fun!